London Hearts Supporters Club

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John Robertson <-auth Barry Anderson auth-> Mike McCurry
[G O'Connor 8] ;[D Riordan 63]
14 of 020 Lee Miller 23 ;Andy Webster 88 L SPL A

Loss of points is big hammer blow for Europhile Hamill


OUT OF all those with Hearts sympathies making their way out the various exits at Easter Road after Saturday’s match, few would have had their heads drooped lower than winger Joe Hamill.

Apart from his steadfast belief that Hearts’ performance justified more than just a single SPL point, there was the realisation for the winger that the Continental involvement that has served to add much to his experience will be absent next season.

Hamill, 21, has prospered where many other young footballers never get the opportunity since coming into the Hearts side four years ago - against top-level European opposition.

It has done much to enhance his development. He made his European debut against the Bosnians of Zeljeznicar at Tynecastle and looked impressive performing on the elevated stage on which then-manager Craig Levein had placed him.

Then this season his expectations, along with many connected with Hearts, were exceeded when he played a significant part in Hearts’ run through the UEFA Cup group stages.

Hamill appeared against Braga, Feyenoord, Schalke and Basel, picking up a multitude of experience on the way. Even if the Tynecastle board should see fit to push a pen and a new contract in front of him this summer, his progress next season will come at a slower rate with only domestic competitions to occupy him.

It is a prospect about which Hamill remains philosophical, however he cannot help but yearn for those European nights.

"I’ve had great experience of playing in the UEFA Cup and I just hope we do it again," said the winger, who would admit to only having peripheral involvement at Easter Road despite playing the full 90 minutes in what was far from his best performance.

"It’s still there for us to make Europe. The way we have to look at it is there are 12 points to play for and we just have to try and take as many of them as we can and hope for the best.

"It was a mad game. I don’t think we were fortunate to escape with a point at all. In fact I’d say we probably deserved to win the match."

His assessment has a rather biased sound to it, but that is no reason to criticise. Sharing the same view were around 4000 other maroon-clad enthusiasts in the south stand.

And Hamill believes justice would have been done and the opportunity there for the visitors to win the match had they been awarded a penalty when Lee Miller robbed Simon Brown in the second half and then found himself sprawling on the floor. He added: "Lee just came from behind and knocked the ball away from him. From where I was, it was a penalty, but the referee saw it different. The Hearts fans were obviously pretty close too and they’ve been shouting for it so maybe that tells you something.

"The fans were brilliant and we always bring a great support here. It’s just a shame we didn’t give them three points to send them home even happier."

When Garry O’Connor opened the scoring it appeared that Hearts had, strangely, suffered from stage fright a little. Hibs were blatantly in the ascendancy and appearing ready to try and kill the game before the interval.

Hamill pointed out, though, that Hearts’ resilience was notable and insisted that he and his colleagues remained calm and focused in the face of the early green and white storm.

He continued: "I didn’t fear the worst because it was so early that there was plenty of time left to claw it back, which we did. And when they scored their second it was during a period when we were on top again.

"Fair enough, Hibs came out fired up for the first ten minutes and did well during that period, but for the remainder of the match I felt we were in control and created the better chances.

"So we had to fight back again and get our point so I think we deserved credit for that."

Taken from the Scotsman

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